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Full text of "Positive knowledge and a personal opinion of Wa-bo-kie-shiek"

POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE 

and a 

PERSONAL OPINION 

of 

WABOKIESHIEK 



,:c^vVi'A:-JxV 










W. M. HUN^tAB. 



POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE 

and a 

PERSONAL OPINION 

of 

WA-BO-KIE-SHIEK 

by 

W. M. Hummel 




ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

AND 

DEDICATION 

I wish to express here, my deep appreciation to my son 
David, the artist. It was he who introduced me to Catlin's 
work. It was he who suggested that I compile this book. I am 
grateful to him for his help in my research and for his inten- 
tions of doing the illustrations, which was brought to an end 
by his untimely death. It is for his memory I dedicate this 
book. 



PREFACE 

This is an unusual procedure but I think the best way to 
convey my story to you. The beginning of this book is all the 
information I am able to compile about the illustrious Indian 
Wabokieshiek. Among these printed documents I will express 
my opinions in footnotes. I call these stories of this Indian, 
positive knowledge. They were certianly printed after the 
facts. My favorite definition of an opinion is as follows : An 
opinion is a judgement or belief formed without certain evi- 
dence; belief stronger than impression, less strong than posi- 
tive knowledge; a judgement or sentiments on persons or 
things as regards their character or qualities. The final pages 
of this book will be a summarization of what I think is posi- 
tive knowledge with my opinions added, all in proper 
arrangement to make an intersting story. The following bib- 
liography contains the books from which I received the posi- 
tive knowledge: 

(1) Massasoit — by Alvin G. Weeks 

{2} A Pictorial History of the American Indian — 

by LaFarge 

(3) Blackhawk's Autobiography — through the 
interpretation of Antoine LeClair 

(4) Sac and Fox Indians — by Wm. Hagen 

(5) History of Rock Island County — by Munsell 
Publishing Co. - 1914 



(6) Geo. Catlin and the Old Frontier — by Harold 
McCracken 

17) Black Hawk — edited by Donald Jackson 

(81 Dictionary of American Indians — by John 
Stoutenburge, Jr. 

(9) History of Whiteside County — by Charles Bent 

(10) Portrait and Biographical Album of 
Whiteside County — by Chapman Bros. 

(11) History of Whiteside County — by William 
Davis 

{12} History of Poweshiek County, Iowa — by 
Union Historical Co., Des Moines, la. 

(13) Illinois — The Story of the Prairie State — by 

Grace Humphrey 

(14) Booklet printed for the U.S. Dept. of the 
Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs — from the 
Smithsonian Institution 

(15) Universal History of the United States of 
America — published in 1834 by C.B. Taylor 

(16) Reminiscences of Bureau County — by N. 
Matson— 1872 



(17) American Heritage of Indians — published by 
American Heritage Publishing Co. Inc. 

(18) Indians of the United States — by Clark 
Wissler 

(191 Lincoln, The Prairie Years — by Carl Sand- 
burg 

(20) Lincoln's Autobiography in his own hand- 
writing to J.W. Fell— Dec. 20, 1859 

(21) Volume 1— The Rock River Valley— by S.J. 
Clark Publishing Co.— 1926 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 with funding from 

CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 



http://www.archive.org/details/positiveknowledgOOhumm 



The introduction of the American Heritage Book of 
Indians was written by John F. Kennedy, President of the 
United States, 1961-1963. 

"For a subject worked and reworked so often in novels, 
motion pictures and television, American Indians remain 
probably the least understood and most misunderstood 
American of us all. 

American Indians defy any single description. They 
were and are far too individualistic. They shared no common 
language and few common customs. But collectively their 
history is our history and should be part of our shared and 
remembered heritage. Yet even their heroes are largely un- 
known to other Americans, particularly in the eastern states, 
except for such figures as Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce 
warriors of the 1870's, and possibly Sacagawea, the Shoshoni 
"bird woman" who guided the lost Lewis and Clark expedi- 
tion through the mountain passes of Montana. 

When we forget great contributors to our American his- 
tory — when we neglect the heroic past of the American In- 
dian — we thereby weaken our own heritage. We need to 
remember the contributions our forefathers found here and 
from which they borrowed liberally. 

When the Indians controlled the balance of power, the 
settlers from Europe were forced to consider their views, and 
to deal with them by treaties and other instruments. The 
pioneers found that Indians in the southeast had developed a 
high civilization, the league of Iroquois inspired Benjamin 



Franklin to copy it in planning the Federation of States. 

But when the American Indians lost their power, they 
were placed on reservations, frequently lands which were 
strange to them and the rest of the nation turned its attention 
to other matters. 

Our treatment of Indians during that period still affects 
the national conscience. We have been hampered by the his- 
tory of our relationship with the Indians in our efforts to 
develop a fair national policy governing present and future 
treatment of Indians under their special relationship with the 
federal government. 

Before we can set out on the road to success, we have to 
know where we are going, and before we can know that, we 
must determine where we have been in the past. It seems a 
basic requirement to study the history of our Indian people. 
America has much to learn about the heritage of our 
American Indians. Only through this study can we £is a na- 
tion do what must be done if our treatment of the American 
Indian is not to be marked down for all times as a national 
disgrace. " 



Who were the Algonquins? 

From the book Massasoit by Alvin G. Weeks 

Of the three eastern groups or families, the Algonquins 
were undoubtedly the most numerous and extended over the 
largest expense of territory. Their dominion extended from 
Hudson Bay to te Carolinas and from the Atlantic to the 
Mississippi and Lake Winnepeg. To quote again from Park- 
man ''they were Algonquins who greeted Jacques Cartier as 
his ships ascended the St. Lawrence. The first British 
colonists found savages of the same race hunting and fishing 
along the coasts and inlets of Virginia, and it was the 
daughter of an Algonquin Chief who interceded with her 
father for the life of the adventuresome Englishman 
(Pocahontas). They were Algonquins who under Sassacus the 
Pequot and Philip of Mt. Hope, waged deadly war against 
the Puritans of New England, who dwelt at Pennacook under 
the rule of the great magician Passaconaway, and trembled 
before the evil spirits of the Crystal Hills; and who sang aves 
and told their beads in the forest chapel of Father Rasle by 
the banks of the Kennebec. They were Algonquins who under 
the great tree at Kensington, made the covenant of peace with 
WUtiam Penn." 

Personal Note : 

Anthropologists, at the beginning called them Algon- 
quians, then Algonquins and finally Algonkins. 

From the book Indians of the United States 
by Clark Wiesler : 



Since the Algonkins east of the Mississippi are the In- 
dians of American history, we should fix their peculiarities 
in our minds. They were woodland people. In the aggregate 
their type of life can be comprehended under such key words 
as tomahawk, warpath, scalp, maize, maple sugar, hoe, 
birchbark canoe, snow shoe, tumpline, tobaggan, wampum, 
moccasin, wigwam, squaw, sachem, sagamor, pipe of peace, 
powwow, totem. If you understand something of what these 
words mean you begin to understand what the life of an 
Algonkin was like. 

Eastern Algonkins included the tribes of Massachuset, 
Wamponog, Pequot, Mahican, Mohigan, Delaware, Pow- 
hatan and others. 

The midwest tribes were Shawnee, Illinois, Kickapoo, 
Miami, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Sac and Fox, Menomini, Chip- 
pewa and Cree. 

The Winnebagoes were not from the Algonkin tribes. 
They were from the Hokan Siouan stock. The Siouan family 
contained the tribes of the Dakotas, Little Crow, Crow, 
Mandan, Sioux, lowas, Omahas, Kansas, Winnebagoes and 
others. 

Personal Note: 

Now that we know from whom they derived, I think the 
following story is the best description of the Sac and Fox 
Indians to be found. 



From the book Volume no. 1 — The Rock River Valley 

by S. J. Clark Publishing Co., 1926 

The distinctive physical characteristics of the Sac and 
Fox Indians were brown skin, lustrous black hair, hazel to 
dark brown eyes, and a somewhat smaller cranial capacity 
than that of the whites. To the whites the Indian seemed to be 
an enigma. The difficulty in understanding them arose from 
the difference in mental experience. No orderly world con- 
troled by an omnipotent God existed for them. Numberless 
irresponsible wills, apparently as free as their own, oc- 
casioned the phenomena around them. There was no com- 
mon meeting ground where on the Indians and Europenas 
could secure a mutual understanding of such terms sis law, 
treaty, honor and religion. 

The ease of livelihood disposed the Indians, somewhat, 
to indolence as the wealth of wild fruits, berries and edible 
roots went far to sustain life without much exertion, and 
game was abundant. The real staff of Indian life, was how- 
ever the maize. This was secured only by an effort as were the 
beans, squashes and other vegetables. The Indian therefore 
was greatly concerned with the cultivation of the soil. A corn- 
field once brought under cultivation was not lightly aban- 
doned. This explains Black Hawk 's refusal to give up the an- 
cient domains of the Sac and Foxes in the Rock River Valley. 

In the summer after the crops were planted and in the 
winter after they had been gathered and stored in pits in the 
village, the whole group would move to some spot in a milder 
part of the country, often a few hundred miles away and set 
up a hunting camp. Here they would spend from six to twelve 



weeks hunting all kinds of animals which could be made to 
furnish meat for the kettle, furs for clothing, and ornaments 
for personal decoration or which could serve any other pur- 
pose. The spoils of the hunt would for the most part be 
prepared for human use on the spot, the meat being cut into 
thin strips and slowly dried on a wood rack, four or five feet 
above an open fire; the pelts of the buffalo, deer and bear and 
the smaller fur bearing animals were dressed with the hair on 
if they were to be used as robes, or with the hair off if they 
were to be made any article the Indians knew how to fashion 
out of dressed skins. 



The Indians often utilized the bones in the making of 
weapons or domestic utensils. The teeth and horns of the elk 
and deer became ornaments for the warrior or served some 
ceremonial purpose. When ever a scarcity of meat was ex- 
perienced, the Indians secured fish from the rivers or lakes. 
The Indians of the valley, however, were not great fishermen. 
They did not trouble themselves by making nets for catching 
fish. When they desired fish they entered their canoes with 
their bow and arrows, and to better see when they stood up 
and pierced it with an arrow as soon as they saw one. 

The indispensable weapon was bow and arrow. Simple 
were the bows while the arrows were long shafts to which 
were attached the triangular stoneheads that are still found 
on the sites of villages or battle ground, and more easily in 
museums. Upon the skill of the Indians the use of the bow 
depended his livelihood, his reputation, and oft time his life. 
He supplemented it in the case and in battle with clubs and 
knives. The clubs were of wood with a ball at the end, or of a 



deers horn trimmed save one or two times. The knives were of 
chipped flint like the arrow heads but larger. Sometimes 
daggers were made from some long hone such as the shank of 
a deer. 

The warriors were required to furnish the families with 
food and furs and to protect them from attack. To the 
women, assisted by the old men and the children, belong the 
tasks of preparing food and clothing, tilling the fields, 
building, repairing the dwellings, and carrying all the 
baggage when on the way to and from the seasonal hunting 
camps. This sharply drawn line between the work of the two 
sexes was based directly on the needs of their mode of life. 

Their migratory life led them to develop two kinds of 
houses. In their permanent towns, substantial oblong cabins 
were built large enough to hold from six to twelve families 
each. Two parallel rows of saplings, bent together and lashed 
at the top, formed the framework making thus a series of 
arches. These were covered with one or more layers of mats of 
closely woven rushes. The swellings were thus watertight and 
warm. A door was made at each end and a strip left open in 
the center of the roof for the escape of smoke from the rows of 
from three to five fired which extended down the center of the 
lodge. 

Two families used each of the fires; thus the cabin might 
shelter as many as fifty or sixty souls. Mats covered the earth 
floor. In some houses a crude platform was built out from 
either wall to serve as lounging or bunks. 



On hunting trips, mats made by the women, that easily 
rolled up, were carried as baggage. On establishing the camp, 
a few poles or stakes were set up for a frame work on 
which to hang the mats. Quickly adequate shelters were set 
up as satisfactory to the Indians as the most improved auto 
tents are to campers today. 

The lands cultivated or hunted by the tribe were the 
common property of the tribe. To the women who grew them, 
the crops belonged; while the spoils of the hunt were turned 
over to the women of the family as soon as they were brought 
into camp. The household equipment was always regarded as 
belonging to the women; the men owning merely their 
weapons and clothing. A large measure of generosity per- 
vaded the unspoiled mind of the Indians. Presents were 
exchanged on all possible occasions. Weak indeed was the 
Indians possessive sense before it was aroused by the white 
man's greed. 

The tribal possession of land followed naturally as a 
result of the simple political and social organization of the 
Indians. Having received their land by descent from their 
ancestors whose bones were preserved in its bosom they felt 
obliged to pass it on to their children. The alienation of the 
tribal title was to then an idea impossible of comprehension. 
The Indians did not understand the white man s concept of 
private ownership of land. The white man failed to realize 
how permanent in the mind of an Indian was the idea of 
inalienability of the tribal title to the land. These failures 
constituted for a long time the stumbling block to a mutual 
understanding being established between the Indians and the 
whites. 



8 



The unit of Indian organization was the tribe. It was 
merely a large family made up of numerous clans or gentes, of 
blood kindred tracing descent from a common ancestor. The 
clan usually claimed some animals as the bear, wolf or fox as 
its special guardian or totem. No marrying with their own 
clan was permitted. On marriage neither party changed their 
gens. 

The people, as all primitive races were governed by pub- 
lic opinion and folk customs. In consequence, the prairie 
children lacked much of having their freedom. They were re- 
strained from childhood by unbreakable customs. Their foot- 
steps were directed by habit while the fear of consequence 
limited their wills. Social opinion enforced uniformity. 

As a result, the machinery of government was slight, 
informal and democratic. The family council settled matters 
pertaining exclusively to the family. A clan council composed 
of the heads of its various tribal council made up of the chifs 
of the clans, handled the problems of the tribe. The leaders of 
each group were of preeminence in valor and wisdom. They 
exerted considerable influence as they presided at the 
councils. 

The war chiefs were distinct from the civil chiefs who as- 
sited so much in the adjustment of disputes and the deter- 
mination of the policies of the tribe. The tear chiefs rose to 
prominence due entirely to their capacity for military leader- 
ship. Waging war was largely a matter of individual choice 
over which the tribe had little control. This explains the 
difficulty the Europeans and American experienced in 



making a permanent treaty with any particular group of 
Indians. 

Personal Note ; 

The preceeding paragraph describes perfectly the 
standing of Black Hawk to his tribe. He was not a civil chief, 
but a war chief, which he attained not by inheritance but by 
proven capabihties. He was not a son of a chief. He was a son 
of a medicine man. 

In 1767 near the mouth of Rock River, in the Indian 
village known as Saukenauk, Black Hawk was bom. The son 
of Pyesa, a grand son of Nanamakee, or Thunder, a 
descendant of other 1 hiinders. and evidently in ths line of the 
famous medicine men of his people. 

Black Hawk was all Indian. Had all Indian blood, he 
often spoke of his father Pyesa but his mother remained 
nameless. Black Hawk was about five feet eight inches in 
height, thin and wiry ; had an aquiline nose and his eyes were 
spoken of as the most piercing ever seen in a human head. 



10 



Page 104— Pictorial History of the American Indian 

by LaFarge 

The Algonkians* were debauched with liquor, first by the 
French, then by the English, then by the Americans, who 
used a barrel of whickey as the standard prelude to another 
profitable treaty. The kings, and to a lesser extent, the 
republican government in Washington, tried to keep the 
treaties, but the frontiersmen would have none of it. Seldom 
were peaceful Indians so freely shot down in cold blood, 
promises so regularly broken, the doctrine, that the only good 
Indian is a dead one, so heartlessly put into practice. The 
deer and the turkeys were killed off. The good farming lands 
were taken. Weakened by drunkeness, poverty stricken, 
broken, the tribes could no longer exist. Black Hawk of the 
Sac and Foxes made a futile effort to hold on to land that was 
honestly theirs in the pathetic, so called Black Hawk 's War, 
and with that the resistance ended. Those tribes that survive 
at all survive for the most part on bleak little holdings in 
Oklahoma. 

Algonkians or Algonquian as it is in the Dictionary of 
American Indians, is the tribe from which the Sac and Fox 
clan derived.* 

Page 506 Chapter XXI 

Universal History of the United States 

by C.B.Taylor— 1834 

Events of 1832 and 1833 Indian War Battle of Wis- 
consin Aug. 2, 1832. Andrew Jackson re-elected President of 



11 



the United States and Martin Van Buren, Vice President. 

The recent hostilities commenced by the Sac and Fox 
Indians, may be traced to causes which have for some time 
been in operation, and which left little doubt upon the minds 
of those acquainted with the savage character, that they were 
determined to commit some aggression upon the frontier. 

The confederated tribes of the Sac and Foxes have long 
been distinguished for their daring spirit of adventure, and 
position. At the commencement of the eighteenth century, 
one of these tribes made a desperate attempt to seize the post 
of Detroit; and during a period of forty years, subsequent to 
that effort, they caused great troubles to the French colonial 
government, which was only terminated by a most for- 
midable military expedition, sent by that enterprising people 
in the then remote regions west of Green Bay. 

During the last war with Great Britain this confederacy 
entered zealously into the contest, and was the most active 
and determined of our enemies. After the peace their com- 
munications with the Canadian authorities was preserved, 
and every year large parties of the most influential chiefs and 
warriors visited Canada, and returned laden with presents. 
That this continued intercourse kept alive feelings of at- 
tachment to a foreign power, and weakened the proper and 
necessary influence of the United States is known to everyone 
who has marked the progress of events and the conduct of the 
Indian upon the North western frontier. The tribes upon the 
upper Mississippi, particularly the Sacs and Foxes and the 
Winnebagoes, confident in their position, and in their natural 
courage and totally ignorant of the vast disproportian be- 
tween their power and that of the United States, have always 



12 



been discontented, keeping the frontier in alarm. He is im- 
pelled onward in his desperate career by passions which are 
fostered and encouraged by the whole frame of society; and 
he is very probably stimulated by the predictions of some 
fanatical leader, who promises him glory, victory, and scalps. 

In this state of feeling, and with these incitements to war, 
the Sac and Foxes claimed the right of occupying a part of the 
country upon Rock River even after it had been sold to the 
citizens of the United States, and settled by them. 

Personal Note ; 

We know the price paid for this tract to the Indians was 
a paltry sum, again they were influenced by a barrel of 
whiskey. We know that Keokuk, Wapello, Pashipaho, and 
other chiefs, all signers of the treaty, were confirmed alco- 
holics. Keokuk's death was caused by delirium tremons. 
Black Hawk was known to be a total abstainer and all indica- 
tions were that Wa-bo-kie-shiek had no trouble from drinking 
neither of which were signers of the treaty. Therefore it is my 
opinion that Black Hawk had a legitimate reason to be in- 
furiated over this transaction. 

Page 38 and 39 
Poweshiek County History State of Iowa 

Black Hawk, feeling exasperated at the harsh treatment 
of his people had received, resolved to prosecute a predatory 
war against the white settlements. He united his band of Sacs 
and Foxes with the Winnebagoes under the Command of the 
Prophet Wabokiesheik (White Cloud) and in March 1832 
recrossed to the east side of the Mississippi. They murdered a 



13 



number of defenseless families, and committed many out- 
rages upon the settlers. The whole frontier became alarmed, 
and many of the settlers fled for safety. The govenor of Illi- 
nois ordered out the militia, which were joined by the regular 
troops. The decisive battle was fought at Bad Axe in Wis- 
consin. Black Hawk was defeated and along with the 
Prophet, two of Black Hawk 's sons and other leaders were 
delivered to Gen. Street, at Prairie Du Chien. 

After being held prisoners for some time, through the 
intersession of Keokuk, they were released. 



Page 146— Black Hawk's Autobiogrphy 

Item 15 

Many tribes had each his own prophets. Thus the 
Winnebagoes had Poweshiek whose home was at the 
prophets town on the Rock River. He was the evil genius of 
Black Hawk, who seems to have had great faith in all sorts of 
prophets. 

Page 203 — Sac and Fox Indians 

by Hagen 

Indeed, Black Hawk was unusually suceptible to in- 
fluence and flattery. Neapope and the Prophet manipulated 
him with ease. 



14 



Page 129 and 130 — Sac and Fox Indians 

by Hagen 

In his early forties, the Winnebago, some say he was half 
Sac, was nearly six feet tall and although inclined to obesity, 
was strongly built. The Prophet 's long matted hair, low fore- 
head, large deeply sunken eyes, fleshy nose, thick lips and 
generally unkempt appearance, gave him a savage expres- 
sion. Normally wearing a deep frown, he managed to convey 
an impression of brutality and cunning. And his appearance 
accurately reflected his character. On her death bed, one of 
his wives accused him of murdering her. The Prophet was a 
dangerously vicious individual, and it was such a man as that, 
the simple Black Hawk turned for advice. 

Page 45 — History of Poweshiek County, Iowa 

Black Hawk and his band then enspoused the cause of 
the British, who as in the case of Tecumseh, gave him the title 
of "General Black Hawk". But a larger portion of the Sacs 
and Fox, at the head of whom was Keokuk, chose to remain 
neutral as well as to abide by the treaty of 1804. Of this party, 
Keokuk was recognized chief. The nation was divided into 
the "war party" and the "peace party". Black Hawk main- 
tained his fidelity to the British until the end of the war, and 
was the intimate friend and supporter of Tecumseh, until the 
death of the latter in the battle of the Thames. 



15 



Page 66 — Reminicences of Bureau County 
by Matson 

In February, 1832, were collected at Indiantown, a large 
number of chiefs belonging to the surrounding tribes; among 
them were Black Hawk, Weba, Shaubena, and the great 
Winnebago chief known as the Prophet. 

This chief lived at Prophetstown, on Rock River, and is 
said to have exercised great influence over his people, dic- 
tating for them in spiritual as well as temporal matters. 
Leonard Roth saw the Prophet at Indiantown during the 
deliberation of the council, and he describes him as follows: 

He was a large Indian in the prime of life, tall and 
straight, with a broad face, eagle like eyes, and long coarse 
hair, which was black as raven. He was dressed in white 
buckskin, fringed at the seams, and ruffled at the waist. His 
headdress was also white buckskin, raising high above his 
head, and on the top of which was a bunch of eagle feathers. 
Around his ankles he wore small wreathes of bells, and in his 
nose and ears were large gold rings. 



Page 37 — History of Whiteside County 

by Bent 

Previous to this the chief second in command to Black 
Hawk, had consulted JVabokieshiek, or White Cloud, the 
Winnebago Prophet, who had informed him that the British, 
Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatamies and Winnebagoes 



16 



would assist his tribe in regaining their village and lands. 
This prophet resided in a village named Prophetstown lo- 
cated near where the town of Prophetstown now stands, and 
which gave the place its name. This prophet had much in- 
fluence. He was a shrewd man and by his prophetic preten- 
tions easily imposed upon his people. He is described in 1831 
as being about forty years of age, a stout, fine looking Indian, 
a full and flowing suit of hair graced his head, which was sur- 
mounted by a fantastic white headdress several inches in 
height, resembling a turban emblematic of his profession. He 
claimed that his parents, one a Sac, the other Winnebago. 
This prophet was captured with Black Hawk after the latters 
defeat in Wisconsin. He is believed to be one of the chief 
instigators of the Black Hawk War. 

Personal Note: 

It is my opinion that because Black Hawk was a friend 
of Tecumseh, he, Black Hawk would have known Tenskwa- 
tawa, brother of Tecumseh. Tenskwatawa was an Indian 
prophet with a large following. He wore a turban emblematic 
of his profession and he wore it quite properly as may be seen 
in his portrait by Catlin, on page 33, Geo. Catlin's book, The 
Old Frontier. 

Black Hawk, having faith in Wabokieshiek as a prophet, 
very likely convinced him to take the name White Cloud the 
Prophet, and to wear the turban, which he did on occasion. A 
very weird one that stood high on his head, with eagle 
feathers on top. 



17 



Now back to Page 37 — Whiteside County History 

by Bent 

Upon the second invasion of Black Hawk a large force of 
volunteers were called out and put under the command of 
Gen. Samuel Whiteside after whom this county is named. 
The regulars were under Gen. Atkinson. The volunteers 
marched up Rock River and burned Prophetstown thence 
continued their march to Dixon. A slight engagement took 
place in Ogle County where the volunteers rendered them- 
selves famous by their rapidity of retreat. During the summer 
two thousand volunteers were called for and sent to the 
frontier, making the whole force three thousand two hundred 
besides three companies of rangers. The object of the large 
force was to overawe the Winnebagoes, who were disposed to 
join Black Hawk. This force steadily pressed Black Hawk 's 
party up the river, and through the state of Wisconsin to near 
the mouth of the Bad Axe on the Mississippi, where the 
volunteers and the regulars nearly exterminated the band 
about August 1, 1832. 

Black Hawk with about twenty followers and the 
Prophet escaped and fled. Gen. Street informed the Winne- 
bago chiefs that if they would pursue and bring Black Hawk 
and the Prophet, the government would hold then as friends. 
The Winnebagoes had been treacherous to the whites, 
Winneshief, one of their chiefs, with his sons participating in 
the battle of "Bad Axe". A small party of Winnebagoes and 
Sioux started in pursuit of the fugitives, and soon captured 
them near the Dells on the Wisconsin River. Black Hawk and 
his son Naapope, Wishick, and the Prophet, were held as 
hostages for the good behavior of the hostile Indians. 



18 



Lower paragraph Page 38 

The Winnebago Prophet, White Cloud, as will be seen 
by the sketch of the Black Hawk War, supported the Sacs 
and Foxes, and projects were formed for the removal of the 
Winnebagoes. By a treaty made September 1832, they ceded 
all lands south of Wisconsin and Fox rivers. The United 
States agreeing to give them a reservation on the Mississippi 
above the upper Iowa and pay them ten thousand dollars 
annually for twenty seven years. In 1843 there were seven 
hundred fifty six of them at Turkey River in Iowa. 

Page 791 — Portrait and Biographical Album of 
Whiteside County 

by Chapman Bros. 

Wa-bo-kie-shiek, or White Cloud, the prophet of the 
Winnebagoes, and commonly called "The Prophet" was the 
most prominent Indian that was ever intimately connected 
with the history of Whiteside County. He was born about 
1790, and made Prophetstown his home. He was a stout, 
shrewd looking Indian; sagacity and cunning were 
prominent traits of his character, and essential to the 
prophetic pretensions by which he imposed upon the 
credulity of his ignorant followers. It is claimed that he was 
one of the chief instigators of the Black Hawk War. He re- 
sided at Prophetstown where there was a large Indian 
Village. 



19 



Page 889 — Portrait Biographical Album 

The town was called, in early days, the Prophet's village. 
And it was here that Wabokieshiek or White Cloud, com- 
monly called the Prophet, had his house with his tribe. He 
was the son of a chief of the Sac and Fox tribes, but was 
connected to the Winnebagoes by marriage, having two of 
their women for his wives. He is reported to have been a 
splendid specimen of the human race. He was tall and 
dignified in his movements, possessing an intelligence far be- 
yond his race. His face had something of a Grecian cast, and 
his mind and character was more that of a student than that 
of an uncivilized Indian warrior. He became one of the most 
distinguished chiefs of the Winnebagoes and was the right 
arm of Black Hawk during the Black Hawk War of 1832, 
being constantly with him until its close, which ended at the 
battle of Bad Axe. It is hard to realize that this pleasant, quiet 
village was the theater of hostile operations during this war. 
It was to this place that Black Hawk, after organizing at Sac 
village, marched with all his forces and formed his camp. The 
Prophet through his marriage with a friendly tribe and 
his associations with the early settlers, particularly with Col. 
Henry Gratiot, agent of the Winnebagoes, and his famly was 
disposed to be on amicable relations with the white settler . 
He had not that bitter vindictive spirit in his heart against the 
white man that Black Hawk had; but when the war broke 
out he did all in his power to make the Indian cause suc- 
cessful. He was in reality an enemy in war and in peace a 
friend. 



20 



Personal Note: 

In my opinion, here again by these words 'an enemy in 
war and in peace a friend' is proof this man was a 
treacherous, cunning, scoundrel. However, the American 
politicians had not proved to be good examples. The Indian 
probably had to fight fire with fire. 



Page 523 — Universal History of the United States 

of America 
by C.B.Taylor 1834 
Prairie Du Chien Aug. 27, 1832 

At eleven o 'clock to-day, Black Hawk and the Prophet, 
were delivered to Gen. Joseph M. Street by the one-eyed 
Deconie and Chaetan, JVinnebagoes, belonging to his agency. 
It was a moment of much interest. The prisoners appeared in 
full dress of white tanned deer-skins. Soon after they were 
seated, the one-eyed Deconie rose up and said — My Father I 
now stand before you; When we parted, I told you we would 
return soon ; but I could not come any sooner. We have had 
to go a great distance, (to the Dall on the Wisconsin above 
Portage.) You see we have done what you sent us to do : these 
are the two that you told us to get — (pointing to Black Hawk 
and the Prophet). Gen. Street replied ''My children — / am 
well pleased, that you have taken the Black Hawk, the 
Prophet and other prisoners. This will enable me to say much 
for you to the great Chief of the warriors, and to the President 
your Great Father. My children, I shall now deliver the two 
men Black Hawk and the Prophet to the chief of the warriors 
here; he will take care of them till we start to Rock Island. " 



21 



Chaeton. a Winnebago warrior, then said to Gen. Street: 
"My Father — Tliat one Wabokieshiek (The Prophet) is 

my relation — if he is to be hurt, I do not wish to see it. 

My Father soldiers sometimes stick the ends of their 

guns (bayonets) into the backs of Indian prisoners when they 

are going about in the hands of the guard. I hope this will not 

be done to these men." 

Page 195 — Sac and Fox Indians 

by Hagen 

Although Black Hawk petitioned humbly to be relased 
to join Keokuk, the agent turned him, his two sons, and the 
Prophet, and his son over to Col. Zachar Taylor at Fort 
Crawford. 

Personal Note : 

It should be noted now, the words in this paragraph 
"The Prophet and his son"'. This is the only mention I have 
found in my search of information on Wa-bo-kie-shiek that he 
had a son. It is my opinion, therefore, the second person in 
CatHn's drawing, at Jefferson Barracks, is the Prophet's son. 
There is much resemblance in face and body features and in 
hair mode. 

Page 124 — Geo. Catlin and the Old Frontier 

by McCracken 

The captives under military guard, were put aboard the 

22 



steamboat Winnebago, commanded by Captain Hunt, and 
were transferred to the prison at Jefferson Barracks, about 
ten miles below St. Louis. Catlin promptly obtained per- 
mission to visit them and paint their portraits. The hostages 
included Black Hawk and the Prophet and eleven other head 
men of the Sauks and Foxes, with about fifty less famous 
warriors. When the artist arrived at the place of internment, 
he found that each of the Indians had a heavy iron band 
secjrly fastened to his ankle to which was attached a heavy 
iron ball and chaim, which he had to carry when he moved 
about. 

The next story is about the Indian prisoners standing 
before President Jackson and his cabinet at Washington. 

Page 2— Black Hawk 

Edited by Donald Jackson 

Published 1955 

Copyright 1955 

Board of Trustees University of 111. 

Library of Congress catalogue card No. — 55-1 1217 

Standing beside Black Hawk and towering above him 
was a gloomy associate, a man of ardor and cunning who had 
given him unfortunate counsel through the years. He was 
wabokieshiek or White Cloud (The Indians called him the 
Prophet) half Winnebago, half Sauk, who stood more than 
six feet tall. His face was full, his eyes deep set, most of ^he 
time he frowned. Unlike his companions, he wore his hair 
long. He held a pipe, must have been two foot long, decorated 
with duck feathers, beads, and ribbons. To the officials in the 



23 



room and to most settlers back in Mississippi Valley, he was a 
scoundrel. 



Page 13 — Same book 

77ie third man was Neapope, (the broth). Like the 
Prophet he ivas a man of strong build, strong and active. He 
ivas a principal Sauk chief but content to let Black Hawk do 
the recruiting and commanding when a war was on. Neapope 
said he and others were principal chiefs. Black Hawk was 
war chief, head warrior, older than us, and led us. 

Personal Note: 

He was also known as Naapope or Nahpope. According 
to the Dictionary of American Indians by John Stoutenberg, 
Jr., he was Nahpope, defined as a warrior in the Black Hawk 
War, who fought against the Americans at Wisconsin Heights 
near what is now Sauk City in Wisconsin. His portrait was 
painted by Catlin. He was released from prison at Jefferson 
Barracks and nothing more was heard from him. 

The story of Wa-bo-kie-shiek alias, Poweshiek, could not 
betold without the story of Black Hawk. My svinpathy is 
with Black Hawk. I have compassion for him. I think he gave 
his best for his ideals, for his land, for his people, and 
now I vdsh to give the best final words I could find for the end 
of his life. I say farewell Black Hawk and happy hunting. 



24 



Page 38 — History of Whiteside County 
by Bent 

Black Hawk was an intelligent and brave Indian, and 
caused the United States much trouble. He was very patriotic 
and very much attatched to his home. His last speech con- 
tained the following words: "Rock River was a beautiful 
Country. I like my town and my cornfields, and the home of 
my people; I fought for it; it is now yours. It will produce 
you good crops. "Black Hawk disregarded the treaties, yet he 
suffered many grievious wrongs, and he believed war was his 
only hope of redress. 

Page 163 — Item 40 — Black Hawk's Autobiography 

After Black Hawk's return to Iowa, he settled on the 
Iowa River. He built a cabin on the river in Lee county, Iowa. 
Here he lived with his wife Ash-aw-e-qua, the Singing Bird, 
his two sons Nes-se-as-kuk and Na-som-see, and his daughter 
Nam-e-qua. 

Nes-se-as-kuk was said to be one of the handsomest 
Indians ever seen. 

Personal Note: 

Black Hawk lost two of his children by natural causes. 
His eldest son and youngest daughter. In the dictionary' of 
American Indians the name of the surviving eldest son was 
Nasheakusk. Also in the same book it stated that his 
daughter Namequa was a very beautiful girl. No words other 
than his name has been said of his second son. I also wish to 



25 



quote words from the Biographical Album of Whiteside 
County: to his credit it may be said, that Black Hawk 
remained true to his wife, and served her with a devotion, un- 
common among Indians. Living with her upwards of forty 
years. 

Page 618 — History of Rock Island County 

Munsell Publishing Co.,— 1914 

Black Hawk was an unusual character. Born in 1 767, he 
was in the very prime of life when the war bearing his name 
occurred. Unlike his associates, Black Hawk had but one wife 
and was a man of high moral character who had the good of 
his people at heart. His position had come through his ability 
and was not a hereditary honor. Had his skin been as white as 
his soul, this Indian warrior would have risen high in the 
service of his country. As it is, although for years history has 
done him a great wrong. Those of the present generation are 
beginning to see through the haze of prejudice and discern the 
noble traits of character which belonged to him. 

Within the introduction of Black Hawk's autobio- 
graphy: As a warrior and a leader of his men in actual 
combat, he probably had no superior among the red men; as 
a statesman and organizer, he ranks below Tecumseh and 
Pontiac. As an orator and politician, he was surpassed by 
Keokuk. 

On the following page is George Catlin's portrait of 
Black Hawk. This portrait was made at Jefferson Barracks, 
Missouri in 1832 while Black Hawk was a prisoner of war. 
Black Hawk was nearuig his sixty -fifth birthday. To my 



26 



knowledge this was the only painted portrait Catlin made of 
Black Hawk. The portrait is the property of the Smithsonian 
Institution. 

Black Hawk was known by a number of names. In his 
autobiography on his dedication to Brigadier General H. 
Atkinson, he signed his name Ma-ka-tat-me-she-kia-kiak 
which meant the Black Sparrow Hawk. When he surrendered 
to General Stret he called himself Mucatamish-kakekg; to 
the treaty in 1831 he signed Mucatatullhieatah. Catlin 
referred to Black Hawk as Ma-ka-tai-ne-she-kia-kiah. 

The character of Black Hawk is beyond reproach as a 
man of honor, full of noble and generous aspirations. Victor 
Hugo, basing his opinion of him on the reports of his enemies 
alone^ in his Jersey speech, declared him "The peer of any 
patriot, and as much above Alexander, Scipio, Napoleon and 
such barbarians, as the moon in its zenith is above the earth." 



Personal Note: 

In his autobiography, it may be noted, that after the 
death of his two children he went into mourning by 
blackening his face and fasting and abstaining many moons. 
Which proved he was a devoted father and husband. 

Page 52 — History of Powesheik County, Iowa 

Quite prominent among the Sacs and Foxes after their 
removal to Iowa, was a man known as Hardfish, or Wish-e- 



21 




,V«/. ,•',,.„„„„ I,.,lilulii 



Ma-ka-tai-ne-she-kia-kiah 



28 



co-ma-que, as it is in the Indian tongue. He was not a chief, 
but a brave, who rose almost to the prominence of a chief. He 
adhered to Black Hawk in his hostility toward the whites, 
and when Black Hawk died, Hardfish became the leader of 
this band, composed mostly of those who had participated in 
the Black War. Hardfish had his village where Eddyville is 
now located. 

Page 46 — History of Poweshiek County 

While the garrison remained at Rock Island he, Black 
Hawk, lived near it and often put up his wigwam close to the 
fort, where his vision could in the beautiful country on the 
east bank of the Mississippi, which had been his home for 
more than half a century. But the time came when he must go 
with his people to the new reservation on the bank of the Des 
Moines. He was then in the waning years of his life, and the 
other chiefs of the nation seemed desposed to pay him but lit- 
tle attention. His family consisted of his wife, two sons and 
one daughter. He established his lodge on the east bank of the 
Des Moines about three miles below the present sight of the 
town of Eldon. This was in the summer of 1838, and the old 
chief, who had defied the power of the United States and 
caused the expenditure of millions of treasure to subdue him, 
was nearing his departure for a final remove beyond the 
power of earthly movements. Near his lodge, on the bank of 
the river, stood a large elm tree, with its spreading branches 
overhanging the stream and flowing from its roots, was a 
crystal spring of pure water. Here during the sultry summer 
days of that year, Black Hawk was wont to repose and dream, 
over the years of his former greatness, and the wrongs that his 
people had suffered. At last on the 3rd of October, 1838, 



29 



death came to his relief, and according to Indian idea, his 
spirit passed away to the happy hunting grounds. 

The remains of Black Hawk were interred by his family 
and friends near his cabin on the prairie avove the old town of 
lowaville. The body was placed on a board, set up in an 
inclining poisition with his feet extending above the surface. 
This was enclosed by placing slabs around it. The hole was 
then covered by dirt and neatly sodded. Interred with the 
body were a number of his prized and long treasured relics, 
including a military suit presented by Jackson himself; a 
cane presented by Henry Clay, and another by a British 
officer; and three silver medals — one presented by Jackson, 
one by John Quincy Adams and the other by citizens of Bos- 
ton. Here the body remained until July, 1839, when it 
disappeared. On complaint being made by Black Hawk's 
family the matter was investigated, and it was finally traced 
to one Dr. Turner, who then resided at a place called 
Lexington in Van Buren County. The remains had been 
taken to Illinois; but at the request of Black Hawk 's family, 
Gov. Lucas interposed and had them sent to Burlington, 
Iowa. They were finally placed in a museum in that city, and 
year after were destroyed by the burning of the building. In 
the meanting the relatives of the renowned chief removed 
westward with the rest of the tribe, and were finally lost to all 
knowledge of the white man. 

Personal Note: 

Now that we have finished with the story of Black Hawk 
we shall continue the story of Wa-b-kie-shiek alias 
Poweshiek. 



30 



Page 250 — History of Poweshiek County Iowa 

Tlius it was, that in honor of a distinguished chief, this 
county was named Poweshiek County. A further account of 
this illustrious Indian will be found elsewhere. 

Page 40 — History of Poweshiek County 

Not far from the "Forks of Skunk" was a small village 
presided over by Kisk-ke-kosh who, though not a chief, was a 
man of considerable influence. Poweshiek, a Fox chief of 
equal rank with Wapello, still had a village on the bank of the 
Iowa River. 

Page 46— History of Poweshiek County 

In the fall of 1837, Black Hawk accompanied by 
Keokuk, Wapello, Poweshiek and some forty of the principal 
chiefs and braves of the Sac and Fox nation again visited 
Washington in charge of Col. Davenport, who by his in- 
fluence made the Black Hawk purchase of 1,250,000 acres. 

Page 50 — History of Poweshiek County 

Poweshiek was chief with the same rank as Wapello, and 
near the same age. He also was one of the Chiefs who visited 
Washington in 1837. When the greater portion of the Sac and 
Fox nation removed to the Des Moines River, he retained his 
village on the Iowa River where he presided over what was 
known as the Musquawkie band of Sacs and Foxes. In May, 



31 



1838, when Gen. Street organized a party to examine the new 
purchase, made the fall before, with a view of selecting a new 
sight for the agency, the expedition was accompanied by 
about thirty braves, under the command of Poweshiek. 

Personal Note : 

It should be noted the first time these Sac and Fox 
leaders were taken to Washington to be viewed by the Presi- 
dent and his cabinet and then held as prisoners, that he the 
Prophet, was known as Wa-bo-kie-sheik or "White Cloud". 
The second trip through the east, with Keokuk, Wapello, and 
some forty of the principal chiefs and braves of the Sac and 
Fox nation in the fall of 1838 in charge of Col. Davenport, it 
is interesting to note he was known as Poweshiek. While on 
this trip an artist by the name of C. B. King painted his 
portrait entitled "Poweshiek, a Fox Chief". This portrait 
hangs in the Redwood Library in New Port, Rhode Island. A 
picture of this portrait may be seen in the book "Black 
Hawk" by Donald Jackson, Published in 1955 Copyright 
1955 Board of Trustees, University of Illinois Library of 
Congress Catalog Card No. — 55-11217 

It is my opinion that after Wabokieshiek was released 
from prison with Black Hawk, and returned to Iowa through 
the intersession of Keokuk, he took the name of Poweshiek 
and was given by Keokuk, the Musquawkie band of Sac and 
Foxes to rule. He had been known as Poweshiek before. Now 
since he had given bad advice to Black Hawk, he has decided 
to drop the name Wabokieshiek and also the title "The 
Prophet". Therefore it is not correct that he was a friend of 
the whites during the Black Hawk War. 

32 



Page 282 — Poweshiek County History 

Poweshiek, a chief of the Fox Indians, who lived on 
Skunk River, either in or not far from the southwest corner of 
the county which bears his name, was tall, heavily built, of 
rough cast of features and was characterized by a disposition 
full of exactness and arrogence. When in accordance with 
Treaty of 1842 he left this region of the country for the last 
time, he went south and encamped temporarily near the 
Missouri border. This was during the winter of 1845 and 
1846. His village, which consisted of about forty lodges, was 
located on the Grand River near the settlements of northern 
Missouri. A difficulty soon arose between the Missourian and 
the Indian and there was every reason to believe that the 
trouble would terminate in bloodshed. When the report of the 
trouble came to Fort Des Moines three persons, Dr. Camp- 
bell, J.B. Scott and Hamilton Thrift, who had been in- 
timately acquainted with Poweshiek, desirous of preventing 
bloodshed, mounted their horses and proceeded to the en- 
campment. Everything in the Indian village had a warlike 
appearance. 

Mr. Scott sought an early interview with Poweshiek and 
spoke to him as follows: 

"My friends and myself have traveled through the snow 
a long distance to help you out of this trouble. We are your 
friends. If you persist in your purpose of making war on the 
whites, many of your squaws and papooses, as well as your 
braves, will be butchered. The remainder will be driven out 
into the cold and snow to perish on the prairie.lt will be better 
now for you to break up your lodges and go in peace toyour 
reservation in Kansas, which the government has provided 
for you/' 



33 



The old chief was at first unwilUng to accept his advice, 
and his principal reason in not doing so was that his conduct 
would be construed into an exhibition of cowardice. He, 
however, finally concluded to accept the advice, and in a 
short time removed beyond the Missouri River. 

Personal Note: 

In all the research I have done, this preceding story, was 
the final story of Wabokieshiek alias Poweshiek. The only 
remaining story is about his likeness on drawings and 
paintings. 

History of Whiteside County 

by William W. Davis 

Pages 7 and 8 

Every place has it memorable event: Boston its tea 
party, Paris the destruction of- the Bastile, Philadelphia the 
Declaration of Independence, Chicago its great fire and in 
our county, last but not least, the presentation October 24, 
1877, of a portrait of the Indian Prophet by the Hon. E. B. 
Washbume to the people of Whiteside. It was painted by 
Healy from sketches made by Catlin. Washbume was then in 
the fullness of his fame. After his long and honorable service 
in Congress,he was appointed by President Grant as minister 
to France, and while in Paris during the Franco-Prussian 
War 1871 he sheltered under the stars and stripes at the 
American embassy, hundreds of defenseless foreigners from 
the wrath of the commune. Never did the old flag exercise a 

34 



nobler humanity. It was a city of refuge. The German em- 
peror and people were profuse in their thanks. Who was Geo. 
Catlin ? A Pennsylvania artist who went to the far west in 
1832, spending eight years among the Indians, painting 
nearly five hundred portraits of the chiefs and prominent 
members of tribes. Healy was a Boston artist who spent most 
of his time in Paris, with the occasional visits to America. In 
his six hundred portraits is nearly every celebrated man of his 
day from Louis Phillippe to Gen. Sherman. His Webster's 
Reply to Hayne, hangs in Faneuil Hall, Boston. It seems 
Washburne found Catlin at Brussels, and secured the Indian 
original for Healy's brush. 



The presentation took place at the Morrison Fair 
grounds after an introduction by Captain John Whallon, 
supervisor from Lyndon. Mr. Washburne arose amid 
generous applause. After acknowledging his pleasure in 
meeting his former constituents, he entered upon a careful 
discussion of the men and events concerned in the Black 
Hawk War. Prophetstown was in the center of hostile opera- 
tions. The Indian name of the Prophet was Wa-bo-kie-sheik. 
He was a son of the chief of the Sac and Fox tribes, but two of 
his wives were Winnebagoes. A splendid specimen of his race, 
tall, intelligent, clear headed he always exercised great in- 
fluence over his people. He was the lieutenant and right arm 
of Black Hawk, and followed him to the very end. 

Personal Note : 

Now that I have seen three portraits of Wabokieshiek, 
the Prophet, and now that I have read many times that the 

35 



prophet wore his hair long, that he was a tall husky fellow 
with a broad nose, deep sunk eyes, broad face, generally with 
a scowl, I am convinced the portrait hanging in the court 
house in Morrison, Illinois, is not one of the prophet. It is my 
opinion after seeing portraits and drawings of Catlin's, this 
portrait at Morrison is the likeness of Neapope, a principal 
Fox and Sac chief, who was Black Hawk's first lieutenant 
and advisor along with the Prophet. 

I would venture that when Mr. Washbume met with the 
artist Catlin in Brussels, they selected the wrong sketch for 
the portrait. 

Catlin was noted for keeping poor records, also mis- 
pronouncing of names such as Wa-pe-kee-suck for Wa-bo-kie- 
shiek. 

Page 129 — Geo Catlin and the Old Frontier 

He was peculiarly indifferent to specific dates and to 
including his journal his exact itinerary. TTiis makes it dif- 
ficult to make a chronological arrangement of certain phases 
of his story. Elxamination of his published letters and notes, 
frequently leads to great confusion, for they are extremely 
disorganized. 

Within the book Sac and Fox Indians 

by Hagen 

R. M. Sully spent three weeks on a portrait of Black 
Hawk after Catlin. This painting is at the Wisconsin State 
Historical Society at Madison, Wisconsin. He also did a por- 
trait of Wa-bo-kie-shiek. 



36 



In the diction of American Indians — Nasheakusk, eldest 
son of Black Hawk had his portrait painted by Samuel M. 
Brooks. This portrait also is the property of the Wisconsin 
Society at Madison. 

A painting of Black Hawk and his son, by John Jarvis 
1833, when they visited the latter as prisoners of war, may be 
seen on page 210 of American Heritage of Indians. 



37 




Healy's Portrait of The Prophet 



38 



^f ■^^■ 




Catlin's portrait of the Prophet whom he called Wah-pe- 
kee-suck the White Cloud 



39 



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41 



In summary, my story of Wabokieshiek alias Poweshiek. 

It has been written: 

Many tribes had each his own prophet. Thus the Winne- 
bagoes had Poweshiek, whose home was at the prophets town 
on the Rock River. He was the evil genius of Black Hawk, 
who seems to have had great faith in all sorts of prophets. I 
^vill say more later about Poweshiek. 

The prophets village as it was called in early days, was 
where Wabokieshiek or White Cloud, commonly called the 
Prophet, had his home with his tribe. For the most part, this 
band of Indians lived near Wabokieshiek in the Indian vil- 
lage. However there were two settlements a short distance 
away. One a short distance down stream on the opposite side 
of the river in a place known as Walkers slough. Also a little 
further downstream on the same side of the river as the 
village near where now stands the railroad bridge which we 
now call Fisk's Point. 

The Prophet was the son of a chief of the Sac and Fox 
tribes but was connected to the Winnebagoes by marriage, 
having two of their women for his wives. He also claimed his 
mother was a Winnebago. He has from early history and at 
the present time called over and over again a Winnebagoe 
Chief. This is in error. By inheritance he was a principal Sac 
and Fox Chief. He is reported to have been a splendid 
speciman of the human race. He was tall and dignified in his 
movements possessing an intelligence far beyond his race. 



42 



Some descriptions describe him as a sullen, treacherous 
scoundrel with deep-set eyes and a scowl or a frown or other 
descriptions say his face had something of a Grecian cast and 
his mind and character was more that of a student than that 
of an uncivilized Indian warrior. He became one of the most 
distinguished chiefs of the Sac and Fox. 

Black Hawk, the commander-in-chief of the Sac and Fox 
had much faith in Poweshiek as a prophet, and I think, 
responsible for Poweshiek to change his name to Wabokie- 
shiek or White Cloud, the Prophet. Black Hawk had been a 
good friend of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa. 
Tenskwatawa was a great Indian prophet with a tremendous 
following. He wore a turband emblematic of his profession 
and wore it quite properly. Black Hawk must have suggested 
to Wabokieshiek that he should wear a turban, which he did 
on occasion, a very weird one that stood high on his head with 
eagle feathers on top. 

We should be reminded now there was another principal 
Sac and Fox chief who was close to Black Hawk. His name 
was Ne-ap-ope. He has been described as tall, strong build, 
handsome and intelligent Indian warrior in whose counsel 
Black Hawk had much confidence. 



Black Hawk who met with Neapope and the Prophet along 
with other chiefs and warriors, represented to them, 
their rights to the soil were inalienable, and the previous ces- 
sions and treaties null and void. Black Hawk was very likely 
quoting his old distinguished friend, Tecumseh, the Shawnee 
chief, who in 1810, expressing the Indian's attitude toward 



43 



the environment while vainly attempting to unite the tribes : -- 

"No tribe has the right to sell land, even to each other, 

much less to strangers Sell a country ! Why not sell the air, 

the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the great spirit 
make them all for the use of his children?" 

In 1804 several chiefs of the Sac and Fox sold lands, 
extending 700 miles along the Mississippi river for $2234.50 
and an annuity of $1000. Among these chiefs were Keokuk, 
Pashipaho, Wapello, and Taimah. We know the price paid 
for this tract to the Indians was a paltry sum, again they were 
influenced by a barrel of whiskey. We know that Keokuk, 
Wapello, Pashipaho, and other chiefs were alcoholics. 
Keokuk's death was caused by delirium tremons. Black 
Hawk was known to be a total abstainer and all indications 
were that Wabokieshiek had no trouble from drinking, 
neither of which were signer of the treaty. Therefore Black 
Hawk had a legitimate reason to be infuriated over this trans- 
action. 

The site of the celebrated Indian village near the mouth 
of Rock River, the home of Black Hawk was surveyed and 
sold. All this had its effects upon Black Hawk and inspired by 
his natural hatred of the Americans, his love for his native 
village, and believing he had been imposed upon, he resolved 
upon war, and so in April 1832 he recrossed the Mississippi 
with about 1000 women and children and about 300 warriors 
he advanced up Rock River to Prophetstown. It was here 
that he intended to raise a crop of corn and squash to see him 
through the siege. It was also here that he intended to receive 
the help of other tribes and also the help of the British. As 
was previously planned, Neapope rode to Maiden in Canada i 



44 



to secure the help of the British which was refused, however, 
through a misunderstanding of the British or by a deliberate 
falsehood, he led Black Hawk to believe the British would 
join them. In the meantime, Wabokieshiek, as was planned, 
held council with all neighboring tribes, and Ottowas, 
Chippewas, Pottowatomies, and the Winnebagoes. The 
chiefs of these tribes had signed treaties with the government 
and were friendly with the whites, thereby refusing to go to 
war against them. For some reasons never to be known, 
Wabokieshiek, directly lied to Black Hawk when he stated 
these tribes would assist. 

(19) During this very time, one morning a rider got 
off his mudspattered, sweating horse in New Salem and gave 
notice of Governor John Reynold's calling for 400 thirty day 
volunteers from the Sangamon County State Militia to report 
at Beardstown, April 24. Illinois like every other state to the 
east, was to have an Indian war. The 65 year old Black 
Hawk, war leader of the Sac and Fox tribes, on April 6 had 
crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, saying his people 
would plant com along the Rock River. He led 368 painted- 
faced warriors, nearly 1000 women and children, and 450 
horses. 

So came reports. For a hundred years, his people had 
hunted, fished and planted in that prairie valley until treaties 
with the white men sent them west of the Mississippi. Now 
Black Hawk claimed that "land cannot be sold but such 
things can be carried away" and that wrong was done when 
red men drank too deep of the fire water of the white men and 
signed papers selling land. 



45 



(19) It was at this very time that Abraham Lincobi's 
employer was failing in business and so he (Abe) borrowed a 
horse and rode 9 miles to Richland Creek to join a company 
of volmiteers, consisting of his friends and neighbors. Two 
men were nominated to be captain. Lincoln won by a % 
majority vote of the men. Lincoln said many years later "not 
since, had any success in life which gave him so much satis- 
faction." They marched to Beardstown and went into camp, 
part of an army of 1600 mobilizing there. 

They moved up the Mississippi to Rock Island where on 
May 9, 1832 Lincoln's Company with others were 
sworn into Federal service. The next day while the regular ar- 
my troops moved on boats, the 1500 militia marched in 
swamp muck and wilderness brush along the south bank of 
the river, pushing and pulling horses and wagons bogged, 
bogged. 

They marched to Prophetstown which they found 
deserted. By orders from Captain Lincoln and other of- 
ficers, they set the torch to the Indian village and burned it to 
the ground. It is hard to conceive that our town was burned to 
the ground by Abraham Lincoln. All in the course of duty 
however. They then marched to Dixon's Ferry and further 
duty in the Indian war. Lincoln enlisted for two more thirty 
day stretches in the war and was then mustered out on July 

10 at White River on Rock River in Wisconsin. On the night 
of his discharge, Lincoln's horse was stolen; and so was that 
of his comrade George Harrison. In the 200 miles to Peoria 
they walked and partway rode on the horses of comrades. 
Buying a canoe at Peoria, Lincoln and Harrison steered by 
turns to Havana, sold the canoe, then walked to New Salem. 



46 



An army paymaster six months later in Springfield, paid Lin- 
coln some $95.00 for his 80 days in the war. 

(6) In the meantime the Army steadily pressed 
Black Hawk's party up the river and through the state of 
Wisconsin, to near the mouth of the Bad .Axe on the 
Mississippi, where the volunteers and the regulars nearly 
exterminated the band about August 1, 1832. Black Hawk 
with about 20 followers and the Prophet escaped and fled. 
General Street informed the Winnebago chiefs that if they 
would pursue and bring Black Hawk and the Prophet, the 
government would hold them as friends. A small party of 
Winnebagoes and Sioux started in pursuit of the fugitives and 
soon captured them near the Dells on the Wisconsin River. 
Black Hawk and his sons, Wabokieshiek and his son and 
Neapope and others were held as hostages for the good 
behavior of the hostile Indians. These prisoners were then 
loaded on a boat, ironically the name of the boat was "The 
Winnebago". They were then taken down the Mississippi to 
Jefferson Barracks, about 10 miles below St. Louis, where 
they were held as prisoners. George Catlin, the artist, 
promptly obtained permission to visit them and paint their 
portriats. The hostages included Black Hawk and the 
Prophet and eleven other head men of the Sac and Foxes, 
with about 50 less famous warriors. When the artist arrived 
at the place of internment, he found that each of the Indians 
had an iron band fastened to his ankle to which was attached 
a heavy iron ball and chaim, which he had to carry when he 
moved about. 

Catlin said the tribesmen, like the Osages, Iowa, Kansas, 
and Sacs and Foxes, followed the cutoms of shaving their 



47 



heads and ornamenting them with a crest of deer's hair, 
rather than wearing the long hair and elaborate head-dresses 
of eagle feathers and other appurtenances of most tribes of 
the Great Plains. "The hair is cut off as close to the head as 
possible," Catlin relates "except a tuft the size of the palm of 
the hand, on the crown of the head; and in the center of 
which is fastened a beautiful crest of the deer's tail, dyed red, 
and often surmounted with the eagle's quills. The little crest 
is called the scalp lock, it is wrapped and held snug by a band 
of buckskin ; it is scrupulously preserved as a challenge to 
their enemies if they get it as a trophy, in case they are 
conquered or killed in battle. It is considered cowardly or 
disgraceful for a warrior to shave it off." 

Catlin said when he painted the Chief, he was dressed in 
a plain suit of buckskin, with a string of Wampum in his ears 
and one his neck, he held in his hand a medicine bag, which 
was the skin of a black hawk, from which he taken his name, 
and the tail of which made him a fan, which he was constant- 
ly using. 

Catlin said of the Prophet, whom he called Wa-pe-kee- 
suck, was a very distinguished man, and one of the leading 
men of the Black Hawk party, and studying favor with the 
whites as indicated by the manner in which he was allowing 
his hair to grow. The Prophet is about forty years old and 
nearly six feet tall, stout and athletic, the priest of 
assassination or secret murder. 

While CatUn was painting Neapope, that warrior seized 
the ball and chain that were fastened to his leg, and raising 
them in the air exclaimed with haughty scorn: "Make me so 

48 



and show me to the Great Father!" When the artist refused 
to paint the portrait Neapope wished, the Indian kept 
varying his position and distorting his face, with grimaces, to 
prevent Catlin's catching a true likeness. 

These prisoners were held in Jefferson Barracks until the 
spring of 1833. These captives were then put aboard a steam 
boat and taken down the Mississippi to the Ohio river, then 
all the way up the Ohio and tributaries as far as possible on 
water, then overland in coaches to Washington D.C., then 
brought before President Jackson and his Cabinet. It was 
during this meeting that Black Hawk surrendered to the 
President and the same time asking to be pardoned to 
Keokuk. This, the President refused, telling Black Hawk that 
he and his warriors had committed an act of war and would 
be detained at Fort Monroe for punishment. This was on 
April 22, 1833, on April 26 they were taken to Fort Monroe ; 
however on June 4th, 1833, they were pardoned to Keokuk. 
Before returning them to the Midwest they were taken on an 
excursion through all the major cities of the eastern United 
States. The government said to show the Indian how big and 
strong the white man's settlements had become. In part, the 
cities were Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, then 
towards home through Buffalo, Detroit, then to General 
Street in Wisconsin, then back to Rock Island to Fort Arm- 
strong, where they were met by Keokuk. Black Hawk retired 
at first, away from other members of his tribe, on the Iowa 
River and later setting up his final home on the Des Moines 
River, on the east bank about three miles below the site of the 
present town of Eldon. It was here that he spent his final 
days; dying on the 3rd of October, 1838. 



49 



What became of Neapope? The only information I can 
find, is that he was released from prison at Jefferson Barracks 
and never heard of again. This I think is erroneous. We know 
he was with the other prisoners at Washington and ques- 
tioned by the President and Cabinet. He was equal in rank 
among the Sac and Foxes as Wabokieshiek and other chiefs. 
His war crimes were no less or for that matter no more than 
theirs. I have a strong feeling he also was released the same 
time as the others to Keokuk at Fort Armstrong. I also shall 
remain firm in conjectiu"e, he is the man known later as 
Hardfish. It is written in a North West Territory History: 
"Quite prominent among the Sacs and Foxes after their 
removal to Iowa, was a man named Hardfish, or Wish-e-co- 
ma-que, as it is in the Indian tongue. He was not a chief, but a 
brave, who rose almost to the prominence of a chief. He 
adhered to Black Hawk in his hostility toward the whites, 
and when Black Hawk died, Hardfish became the leader of 
this band, composed mostly of those who had participated in 
the Black Hawk War. Hardfish had his village where Eddy- 
ville is now located." 

Finally amongst these leaders, what became of 
Wabokieshiek? I shall always believe that after Wabokie- 
shiek was released from prison with Black Hawk and 
Neapope, and returned to Iowa through the intersession of 
Keokuk, he took the name of Poweshiek, and was given by 
Keokuk, the Musquakie band of Sac and Foxes to rule. He 
had been known as Poweshiek before. Now since he had 
given bad advice to Black Hawk, he has decided to drop the 
name Wabokieshiek and also the title *'The Prophet." 

This Musquawkie band of Sac and Fox lived in the 

50 



south west part of what is now Poweshiek County. The 
people of this territory thought enough of him to name the 
county after him. In the fall of 1837 he again, along with 
Black Hawk accompanied by Keokuk, Wapello, Taimah, 
and some forty other Sac and Fox again visited Washington 
in charge of Colonel Davenport, who by his influence made 
the Black Hawk purchase of 1,250,000 acres. 

According to the treaty of 1842 he, Poweshiek alias 
Wabokieshiek, was forced to removed to a reservation in 
Kansas, so during the winter of 1845 and 1846, he and his 
band left this region, presumably for the last time, traveling 
south to the Missouri border. Here he decided to set up camp. 
His village consisted of about forty lodges, was located on the 
Grand River, near the Missouri border. A difficulty soon 
arose between the Missourians and the Indians and there was 
every reason to believe that trouble would terminated in 
bloodshed. When the report of the trouble reached Fort Des 
Moines, three persons. Doctor Campbell, J.B. Scott and 
Hamilton Thrift, who had been intimately acquainted with 
Poweshiek, desirous of preventing bloodshed, mounted their 
horses and proceeded to the encampment. Everything in the 
Indian village had a warlike appearance. 

Mr. Scott sought an early interview with Poweshiek and 
spoke to him as follows: "My friends and myself have 
travelled a long way through the snow to help you out of this 
trouble, we are your friends, if you persist in making war on 
the whites many of your squaws and papooses as well as your 
braves wiU be butchered. The remainder will be driven into 
the snow and cold to perish. It will be better now to break 
camp and go in peace to your reservation in Kansas." At first 



51 



he refused but finally accepted the advice and in a short time 
removed beyond the Missouri River. 

This is the final story of the living Poweshiek alias 
Wabokieshiek except for some information I received in the 
form of a booklet from the Smithsonian Institution printed by 
the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

I quote— "After the removal of the Sac and Foxes to 
Kansas, small groups began to move back into Iowa. In time 
about 100 of the tribe had returned and in 1856 the State of 
Iowa passed a law permitting them to stay. With proceeds 
from the sale of horses, the small group purchased 80 acres of 
land near Tama, Iowa to which more land was later added. 
In 1896 both the Iowa legislature and the U.S. Congress 
passed laws transferring the trust status of the lands to the 
United States ; certain rights such as limited taxation were re- 
served for the State. 

Sac and Fox lands in Tama County today harbor the 
only remaining group of Indians in Iowa, descendants of 
those who returned from Kansas more than 100 years ago. 
They call themselves Musquawkie or Red Earth People. 

Iowa's Indians, the Sac and Fox community, are still ex- 
tremely conservative. Although they live in close contact with 
white neighbors, and work as laborers and truck far- 
mers, most members of the tribe continue to follow 
traditional beliefs. The musquawkie language of their Fox 
ancestors is still in common use. A plot of ground is set aside 
for the annual mid-August, 4 day powwow and fair, 



52 



featuring the dance of friendship, the war dance, the green 
corn dance, the buffalo head dance, and a snake dance. 

In Iowa too, most Indian children are enrolled in public 
schools. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been operating a 
three teacher day school on the Sac and Fox settlement for 
grades one through six and contracting with South Tama 
County Community School District for education and 
transportation of Sac and Fox pupils from the seventh 
through the twelfth grades. Transfer of all grades to the 
public school system is planned for the fall of 1 968. " 

There is no doubt in my mind that if any nmnber of the 
Musquawkee band drifted back to Iowa surely Poweshiek 
accompanied them and so I shall wonder ; is his grave near 
Tama? Do todays Sac and Fox know where his grave is? It 
behooves me to search for it. 

In the fore pages of this book, I expressed more than 
once my sympathies for the red man. I have not said all of 
this was not necessary for the expansion of civilization. Disre- 
garding the tactics used to influence the red man, the United 
Stated did purchase the land from the Indians. The United 
States did also have the signatures of tribal chiefs agreeing to 
abandon in a certain time these lands and go to a reservation 
provided for them, therefore there may be some things to say 
in our favor. The best face-saving story I have found is 
within The Story of the Prairie State — by Grace Hum prey : 



"The Indians wandered over prairies, living by hunting 
and fishing and a most primitive agriculture. Without 

53 



knowing the use of iron, without domestic animals, without a 
written language, they were savages and fighting was their 
principal occupation. For all the years they lived here, their 
story is constant warfare. War that was cruel and cowardly 
and causeless, in which men and women and children 
perished. 

And if you argue that the Europeans had no right to take 
away the Indian's land, expelling the red men from their 
hunting grounds, for their own selfish answer is contained in 
just those words. For the Indians, they were hunting grounds 
and nothing more. For the white men they are permanent 
fields of grain, site for great cities, for manufacturing and 
farming, providing a livelihood for thousands and milions of 
people, where onl only a few hundred Indians could live. 
They make a higher civilization possible, a greater blessing to 
humanity, a greater good to the greatest number. 

And whatever you may say of the white man 's unfairness 
and injustice to the red, not an incident in their his- 
tory relates such treatment as one Indian tribe frequently 
gave to another. 

Our Indian history is picture after picture of savage war 
between the Illinois federation and the other tribes living in 
the state. It is a story of desolation and extermination, for 
their aim was always to waste and destroy, not to build up. 
Nearly two hundred years passed after coming of the French 
before the Indians were finally banished from Illinois." 

Returning to the story of our illustrious Indian prophet, 
Wabokieshiek, my only remaining story is concerning his 



54 



likeness on drawings and portraits. Catlin did only one por- 
trait of Wabokieshiek. It is a bust painting (from the waist 
up) and it became the property of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution. He made a drawing of the prisoners at Jefferson 
Barracks, which included Wabokieshiek, Wabokieshiek's 
son, Black Hawk, Black Hawk's eldest son Nasheakusk, his 
youngest son Nasomsee, and the warrior chief Neapope, all 
six in a group and some of them separately. The group 
drawing is the property of the New York Public Library. 

In the year of 1877 the Honorable E.B.Washburne who 
had been minister to France, but who resided in Galena, 
Illinois, decided to present Whiteside County a painting of 
Wabokieshiek by the famous artist Healy, who resided in 
Paris. 

What was the interest Washburne had in Whiteside 
County or what was his interest in Wabokieshiek the 
Prophet? The interest is best explained in the following story. 

(9) In his hunting expeditions for some years before 
the breaking out of hostilities, Wabokieshiek was in the habit 
of visiting that section of country now known as Gratiot's 
Grove, Wisconsin, where Colonel Henry Gratiot, agent of the 
Winnebagoes resided, and by whom he, Wabokieshiek, was 
always warmly welcomed, and for whom he entertained a 
strong friendship. 

It was these circiun stances that caused the military to 
send Colonel Gratiot to Prophetstown in the interest of peace. 



55 



He bore a letter from General Atkinson who was in command 
at Fort Armstrong. This was an important mission. Colonel 
Gratiot took with him his secretary and several Winnebago 
chiefs, all his fast friends and all on good terms with the 
whites of the country in that time of so much peril. These 
included Broken Shoulder, Whirling Thunder, White Crow, 
Little Medicine Man and Little Priest. The party took their 
canoes at Dixon Ferry and descended Rock River to the 
Prophets Village. No sooner had the canoes landed than the 
Indians surrounded them with every demonstration of vio- 
lence and made all of them prisoners. At the moment of 
seizing Colonel Gratiot, the Prophet appeared on the scene. 
Seeing his old friend in danger he rushed upon his people and 
interfered in his defense, crying out "good man, good man, 
my friend. I take him to my wigwam, I feed him, he is good 
friend of my Indians." Arriving as a prisoner at the wigwam 
the Prophet said to him as "Chouteau" he should welcome 
him to his village, but if he came as a whiteman he must con- 
sider him, like all whites, an enemy, and detain all the party 
of prisoners. Colonel Gratiot explained to the Prophet the 
peaceful object of his mission, which was in the interest of all 
the Indians and how great would be the perfidy if he and his 
party were detained or harmed. This situation of the Prophet 
was very embarrassing. He wanted to serve his friend, but the 
young men and warriors who were behind him were 
clamoring for scalps of the prisoners, and would never 
consent to their departure. After keeping the prisoners for 2 
or 3 days, the Prophet, uneasy, restless and disturbed by con- 
flicting emotions, finally said to Colonel Gratiot: "You have 
always been my friend and a friend of my people, and you 
and your party must not be harmed but there is great trouble, 
my men will never consent to give you up and so you must 



56 



leave without their knowledge; your canoes are on shore, go 
to them when I shall indicate, leave instantly with all speed, 
the young men will soon give you chase. All will depend on 
the strength of your arms." The Prophet was right. Hardly 
had they reached their canoes when the alarm was given, 
when all the young men gave a war cry and rushed to their 
canoes to follow and capture their prey. And never before or 
since has the placid waters of Rock River been the theater of 
such excitement. It was literally a race for life. A score of 
maddened warriors shouting and crying in pursuit but a sense 
of overwhelming danger nerved the arms of the pursued, for 
to be taken was certain death. As daylight appeared, the 
shore revealed that they had passed the point of danger and 
were within the limits of the white settlement. Doggedly, 
silently, the warriors gave up the chase and the pursued were 
in a short time safe at Rock Island. 

This story came from the sons of Colonel Gratiot, 
Colonel Charles Gratiot of Gratiot, Wisconsin, Lt. Colonel 
Edward Gratiot of Platteville, Wisconsin, who had often 
heard their father recount the story of his dangerous mission. 
It was the Prophet who on this occasion, protected from 
violence and probably saved the life of Colonel Gratiot, who 
was also the father of the wife of the Honorable E.B. Wash- 
bume. It is this interesting fact that caused the Honorable 
Mr. Washbume to have the special interest in the Prophet. It 
was for this reason he had the portrait made of the Prophet 
and presented it to Whiteside County. 

The Honorable E.B. Washburne while in Paris decided 
to contact Catlin and obtain a portrait, found out the artist 
was in Brussels, so went to Brussels and met with Catlin. 



57 



Catlin told him he had only a drawing of the Prophet and 
would give it to him and to have his friend Healy do a portrait 
from the drawing. This was accomplished. Mr. Washbume 
presented this portrait to Whiteside Comity, dm-ing the 
Comity Fair in 1877. The portrait hangs to this day in the 
Court House in Morrison, Illinois. 

Now that I have seen three different portraits of the 
Prophet, and now that I have read many times that the 
Prophet wore his hair long, that he was a tall, husky fellow 
with a broad nose, deep sunk eyes, broad face generally with 
a scowl, I am convinced the portrait at Morrison, Illinois is 
not one of the Prophet. It is my opinion after seeing portraits 
and drawings of Catlin 's, this portrait at Morrison is the like- 
ness of Neapope, a principal Sac and Fox Chief who was 
Black Hawk's counselor along with Wabokieshiek. 

I would venture that when Mr. Washbume met with the 
artist Catlin in Brussels, they selected the wrong sketch for 
the portrait. Catlin was noted for keeping poor records. It is 
written--"examination of his published letters and notes leads 
to greater confusion for they are extremely disorganized". 

I have read that the great artist R.M. Sully painted a 
portrait of Wabokieshiek. The whereabouts of this painting is 
unknown to me. 

While on his journey through the eastern cities, an artist, 
C.B. King, painted his portrait which is titled "Poweshiek, 
a Fox Chief". It depicts him holding a bow. This portrait 
hangs in the Redwood Library in Newport, Rhode Island. 



58 



In earlier days before George Catlin went west on his 
Indian painting journey, he had made many friends of im- 
portance in Washington. After returning he renewed the old 
friendships and added many new ones. His personality and 
brilliance always made a strong and favorable impression 
upon men of intellect whether or not they agreed with all of 
his ideas. His admirers now included Henry Clay, Daniel 
Webster, William H. Seward and many more. All of these be- 
came strong supporters of Catlin 's plan for the establishment 
of a National Museum. But politics often have a strange ef- 
fect on matters which reflect even vaguely upon national 
policies particularly when the policies maybe vulnerable to 
public question or criticism. Official Washington already had 
a guilty conscience regarding the treatment of the Indians 
and George Catlin had strongly established himself on the 
wrong side. Therefore, he got nowhere with Congress pur- 
chasing his collection or the establishment of a National 
Museum. This was in 1838. 

In 1846 a bill was passed by the United States Congress 
establishing a National Museum, to be known as the Smith- 
sonian Institution, under the terms of the will of an English- 
man, the late James Smithson. Included in the bill was an 
authorization for a gaUery of art. 

On July 24th the Congressional Joint Committee on the 
library made a report and recommendation in relation to the 
purchase of Catlin 's Indian Gallery. However owing to the 
sudden outbreak of the Mexican War, no further action was 
taken at that time. 

In the winter of 1847-1848 Catlin was showing his 

59 



galler>' in Paris. At that very time there was a great urge to 
overthrow the royahy. On the 22nd of February, the 
populace of Paris crowded the Place Madeleine, where Catlin 
Uved and chanted "Vive la Reforme!" His apartment was 
invaded by the mob and some of his paintings wre destroyed 
by bayonets. He managed to escape with his three little girls 
and even to get his entire Indian Gallery out of Paris and 
across the Channel to England. Otherwise he was pretty well 
wiped out and desperately in need of money. 



Catlin had been confident the bill would pass and had 
borrowed heavily as he could against the Gallery. Now that it 
had failed, his creditors closed in on him. 

The Gallery was to be auctioned off in small lots but the 
bids were so low that this procedure was promtly abandoned. 

Among the creditors was a wealthy American, Joseph 
Harrison, who was head of the Harrison Boiler Works in 
Philadelphia at the time of the largest locomotive building 
concern in the world. He paid off the principal debts against 
the Indian Gallery, had it hurriedly crated and put aboard 
the first ship bound for Philadelphia. 

On May 19, 1879 the heirs of Joseph Harrison presented 
the Gallery to the people of the United States and it was 
accepted by the Smithsonian Institution. 

George Catlin left us an important and authentic view of 

60 



the American Indian, in his art and also in his words when he 
said: 

"I love a people who have always made me welcome to 
the best they had — who are honest without laws, who have no 
jails and no poor -ho use... who have never taken the name of 
God in vain. ..who worship God without a Bible, and I believe 
that God loves them also. ..who are free from religious 
anamosities...who have never raised a hand against me, or 
stolen my property, where there was no law to punish for 
either.. .who never fought a battle with white men, except on 
their own ground...and oh! how I love a people who didn't 
live for the love of money. 

These words express my sentiments exactly and with this 
thought I would like to add two stanzas of a poem written by 
my good friend and neighbor, the late Eli Whitney Upton. 

The timbers by the river 
Where I roamed as just a boy 
Known as home of White Chud 
Really brought me joy. 

When I stop to think of White Cloud 

In this black and fertile loam 

Of the selfish white man 

That drove him from his home. 



We have spoken. 
61